We hate doing this, but sometimes drivers come to us with equipment combinations that will not be profitable, and we have to deliver the bad news. We are committed to adding successful owner operators and not just guys with trucks that will run for a while and fail.
The challenge for new owner operators is that the DOT regulations are extremely complex. And there's a lot of bad information about the rules that lead guys to buy the wrong equipment.
So to help this process we have developed a short list of checkpoints on putting together an equipment package. This list is based on over 1,000,000 miles of hotshot operations, and a team of drivers that currently move between three and 400 cars a month.
Do not try to enter the business with a two car trailer unless it's enclosed.
Do not try to Haul A three car trailer with a gas powered engine
Do not try to enter the business with the duly truck that does not have a turbo boost on the diesel engine.
Decide if you are going to run under 26,000 GVW or over 26,000 GVW,
Then buy your truck first and the trailer second.
Don't assume a truck and trailer auto hauler combination that has been on the road in the past is legal or profitable for your purposes. The number one bad source for DOT information comes from a guy trying to sell a truck and trailer.
Avoid a four-wheel-drive truck if you're going to operate under 26,000 pounds GVW.
Understand the payload of your combination. Payload is the gross weight rating of your truck and trailer, minus the physical weight on a scale of your truck, trailer, driver and full fuel. That difference is your net payload.
To operate the hotshot rig profitably over a long term you need a net payload of at least 12,000 pounds.
Hotshot rig commercial insurance is expensive and if you have a few bad marks on your driving record expect to pay as much as $12-$1400 per month.
You need both a DOT number and a motor carrier authority from the federal government operate legally as a commercial auto hauler.
You must at all times while on the road keep a log book, cross all scales, and be subject and ready for a DOT inspection at any time.
Hope this helps you figure out the confusing rules regulating the light commercial are a hauler market. And to do it with the right equipment.